INTERVIEW WITH AN INKER - PART TWOWolverine #147
Last week we talked to Derek Fridolfs, who scored his big break in the comics business with a guest-inking gig in WOLVERINE #147. In the first part of the interview, we concerned ourselves with his interesting story of breaking into the business. This week we concentrate more on the technical and artistic side, along with what's up ahead for him.
There are plenty of odd things that happen in the comics business that those of us on the outside never realize or think about. When I conducted this interview last month, Derek had already handed in his pages. He knew he'd be splitting the issue with another inker, but didn't get the chance to see who that other inker was until the issue came out last week! Aside from a paycheck, he hadn't really heard from Marvel on what they thought of the job. (I'd call it a good sign that they paid him. ;-) There haven't been any further job offers from Marvel that Derek can talk about since then, either. Welcome to the world of the automaton: do your work, collect your pay, get out.
This isn't to say he's washed up already. He's landed an apparently regular inking gig for WildStorm on their new title, GEN ACTIVE, the anthology series coming soon to comic stores near you.
"WildStorm actually had contacted me towards the end of my stint inking WOLVERINE, to offer me some work," Derek explained. "My samples had been passed from one editor to another, and they were interested to see my inks on a GEN13 cover. As it turned out, they were waiting on the cover and by the time they got it from the artist, I was out of town (and they needed it done quickly, so they turned to one of their in-house guys). But they contacted me when I got back in town, and I'm currently working on a 10-page story that will be featured in the brand new title, Gen Active, which should be offered in Diamond Previews to ship in March (plug plug). The first issue will have Jay Faerber, Dan Abbet, Andy Lanning, Brian Hitch, Paul Neary, Dustin Nguyen, and Dan Norton involved...so I'm excited to involved with such a large group of varied professionals. I'm even more excited to see what WildStorm's great coloring department does with the title."
It's only his second job and he's already gotten the art of self-promotion down pat!
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
The tools Derek uses for the job consist mostly of pen and marker. (You can hear the old-fashioned brush artistes grimacing already.) He says he uses them because it allows him to be "more detailed in my inks, which I fear the brush would make me far sloppier (but much quicker). Brush is good for filling in larger areas, but for the most part I stick to my pens. I'm using some Japanese special micron pens, which are a lot like Rapidographs. I've got my girlfriend to thank for introducing them to me, since she never had any use for them -- and now I do :) What it comes down to is use whatever gets the job done. I don't know how many artists and editors have told me my work looks like that of a brush, and as long as they like that, then no problem."
With those tools, it took Derek about a page a day to ink over Roger Cruz's work for WOLVERINE.
"Roger has some very clean pages," Derek said, nearing the end of the WOLVERINE job. "So it makes things much easier to work on. I'm currently working on some very detailed pages which are slowing me down a little more, due to all the techno-detail in them."
Generally speaking, though, Derek mentioned that Cruz's art was very clean. In fact, he suspects Cruz might be doing the rough pencils on one page and blowing them up to a lightboard to tighten them up. This works out best for Derek, who says he prefers cleaner pencils to ink from:
"My inks gravitate more towards the cleaner style, which I feel I can continue in the artist's tradition to make it even bolder and tighten it with my inks. A looser style can be just as much fun, since then it's more up to myself to add my style to it."- Derek Fridolfs